fbpx Jérémie Danon | CIRCA PRIZE 2023

Jérémie Danon

Individuals, their identities, and the place given to them by society are at the core of my work. By forging encounters and bonds, I immerse myself in universes that are not my own. Photography, painting, books, and videos capture the time spent and moments shared with communities I approach, and of which I become an ally, summing up my observations and raising questions.

At the crossroad between documentation and staging, my work relies on words and stories of which I consider myself the channel, the medium in the most pragmatic meaning. The resulting outputs are the transposition of a shared experience into an artistic form. On a discursive collaboration basis, I work with each person and each community, making them a big part of the creative process. This translates as the attempt to shift the viewer’s gaze on the subject while deconstructing the canonic idea of authorship.

Open air features individuals undergoing rehabilitation. Released from prison, they now find themselves in a different kind of freedom than the one they knew before their incarceration. Transformed by the experience of imprisonment, they look with new eyes at this newfound world, where they come up against the harshness of a system unsuited to their condition. After spending some time with the former prisoners, I invited four of them to speak against a green background; this device allowed me to present their testimonies by decontextualizing them from reality, within imaginary spaces. “Where would you like to be now?” The interviewees’ response to these questions generated the digital settings in which they are immersed.

In the midst of these machinima spaces, they witness their displacement and impossible return to reality. Open air focuses on the desire of people in rehabilitation and, in doing so, addresses the flaws of an established system that refuses to question itself.

Through their stories, they hope to change the preconceived ideas about incarcerated people that they face on a daily basis. The people who tell their stories seek to share with us their imaginations and their hopes for a better future.

For the past two years or so I have been involved in the Ballroom scene in Paris, which I recently joined. This scene is a cultural and political expression of an already marginalised Queer community which trans and racialized people have established since the 1970s.

As a group, we began to think about creating an event and producing a film that would be organised by the community and allow it to talk about its visibility as an ensemble within the media and cinema. The Ball itself will not be shown but the testimonies of its spokespersons, collected before and after the event, explaining why it’s important not to show it, as it is not meant to be an entertainment for the masses but a safe space for sharing. The prize money would be used to organise the event and invite people from the international dance scene. This opportunity would allow me to give back to the community that has accompanied me to feel freer and make a new project together.

In my opinion, hope is closely related to being able to choose. In order to hope we must be enabled to make choices, without oppression by politics, by a violent economical system in an environment that is not marked by a perpetual state of emergency.